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What are the health and socio-economic impacts of physical distancing in African countries and how can they be mitigated? This work by Edwine Barasa and colleagues reviews the effects of physical distancing restrictions and recommends that African countries need to consider the broader net benefit of measures that they choose to implement and to adapt and localize their response to align with the contextual realities of the continent, and to optimize expected benefits of physical distancing, while minimizing the undesired impacts.